Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Benefit Charge?

A Benefit Charge is part of a two-part funding system that helps ensure growing communities maintain high quality fire and life safety services. The fee is included in your property tax, payable to King County. On your tax statement, it is identified as a "Fire Fee". The fee is based on factors that provide equity in the cost distribution to taxpayers, such as square footage of structures on their parcel and the fire risk of the occupancy of the building. As an example, a commercial office building will have a smaller Benefit Charge than an industrial location that houses flammable chemicals, even if the buildings have the same assessed value.

What are all the factors that determine my Benefit Charge?

Category Factor: data based on building use and size. Information is gathered from the King County Tax Accessor database.

Fire Flow Factor: the relative cost of providing the required fire flow per gallon during a fire.

Effective Response Factor: related to the size of force in firefighters and equipment needed to deliver the required fire flow.

Hazard Factor: the degree of risk caused by the use, processing, or storage of hazardous materials in or around the structures.

What do I do if my Benefit Charge appears to be incorrect?

If you feel that your Benefit Charge was somehow calculated incorrectly, you may file a petition here at Just Click Here to verify your parcel and start the Petition for Adjustment of the Benefit Charge process.

How does the Benefit Charge help the average homeowner?

As our population grows, the Benefit Charge provides a continued level of dependable fire and life safety services by maintaining well trained and equipped firefighters, fully staffed stations, and stations in areas that reduce response times to best serve you. Additionally, you now have a regular voice in the organization, including the Benefit Charge, giving you greater control over the cost of your fire and life safety services.

Who establishes the Benefit Charge and what does it cover?

RCW 52.26.180 provides that the Regional Fire Authority may fix and impose a Benefit Charge on personal property and improvements to real property. The benefit charge does not apply to land. It covers properties, such as residential buildings, commercial structures, agricultural buildings, and other structures that affix to land.

How long is the benefit charge good for?

Every six years voters have the opportunity to reauthorize the Benefit Charge with majority voter approval.

Have additional questions? Contact us